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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 42, Issue 5 — September 2016

Homebuilder Practices and Perceptions of Construction on the Wooded Lot: A Quarter Century Later Follow-Up Assessment    (View PDF)

Keith O’Herrin, Richard J. Hauer, William J. Vander Weit, and Robert W. Miller

Abstract: Building new homes on wooded lots is common in the upper Midwest, United States. Existing trees are often left behind during construction to become part of the future landscape. A study conducted in 1980 found that homebuilders in Portage County, Wisconsin, U.S. generally had a poor understanding of how construction activities could impact the health of trees intended to be preserved. Researchers replicated that study 27 years later by surveying homebuilders in the same region to see how their tree preservation knowledge and use of construction activities have changed during that time. The results indicate few construction activities changed significantly, showing that little has changed overall to improve tree preservation. Even though builders significantly improved their knowledge of the negative effects that storage of fill soil on roots poses to tree preservation, they also significantly increased usage of that very same activity. Builders almost never consulted a tree preservation expert and thought doing so was the least important activity when making tree preservation decisions. Interest in a tree preservation training workshop was limited. Unless pressured by consumer demand or regulation, builders will probably not improve their tree preservation knowledge, change their construction activities, or include tree experts anywhere in the process.

Keywords: Construction; Damage; Followup; Home Builders; Landscape; Perceptions; Public; Tree Experts.

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